Amithias Project blends jazz harmonies with ragas

Amithias Project blends jazz harmonies with ragas

The band performs with a Bengaluru flautist in the city on January 18

The Amithias Project was formed a couple of years ago when Bengaluru-based flautist Amith Nadig and German trumpeter Matthias Schriefl, first met. They realised that they shared a mutual love for many things, including the idea of blending jazz harmonies with Indian ragas.

Currently, on an Indian tour, the band comprising Amith A Nadig on flute and vocals, Matthias Schriefl on trumpet and flugal horn, Nivedita Sharma performing Bharatanatyam, Vinod Shyam Anoor on mridangam and Konnakkol and Sunaad Anoor on khanjira and Konnakkol, will perform on January 18 at 10 am at Dr C Ashwath Kala Bhavana. In an interview with Metrolife, Amith A Nadig talks about how the band came together and more.  

You are popular for original compositions. Tell us about it?

Most of our repertoire is made up of own compositions. It ranges from rearranging German folk melodies to having a Jazz twist to songs written with an Indian flavour. Nivedita, the dancer also performs a traditional Bharatanatyam piece called Jathiswara but it has been rearranged to sound like a true Indo-German Jazz piece.

What kind of instruments do you use in during your performance?

Amith Nadig plays the flute and also yodels in true German Alps style. Matthias is a prodigy at multiple brass instruments, including trumpet, flugal horn, tuba and alp hon. He is also involved in the understanding of Indian rhythms and Raga system. He is also adept at composing highly technical Indo-Jazz music which we play to packed audiences in Europe.

What is the most complicated piece that you have rendered so far?

The Amithias Project itself is based on Amith and Matthias coming out of their comfort zones and making truly world music. Hence, most of the compositions are complicated to play, but we make sure that complexity is not heard as an output when it is performed on stage. At the end of the day, it is just happy and beautiful music that we try to give. 

For Amith, yodelling and playing jazz harmonies is complicated because that was not what he learnt during his initial training. Similarly, Matthias had to relearn some of the basic concepts of Indian music and he now composes authentic Indian Muktayans.

What are the challenges when performing together? 

The main challenge was to have a deep sense of understanding of ourselves about what we wished to communicate. We had to find the meeting point of two great cultures and make it the focal point of our concert. You can clearly see this point of meeting when you hear Amith yodelling in German-style or when Matthias plays a Carnatic style Muktayan on his trumpet or even when Amith plays jazz melodies which is not accustomed to. 

What is your next project?

We are currently on tour in India. Our album called, ‘The Big Amithias Project with HR Big Band’ is going to be produced by the most prestigious HR Radio Big Band in Frankfurt. 

How is it to perform in Bengaluru?

The audience is different and their understanding of music is different. I am sure Bengaluru has never heard of a collaboration like this. It will be a one-of-a-kind experience to listen to
truly world music of a very high order being performed by some really talented artists.

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